Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Great Dipper

Sometimes I think the beautifullest thing is...
  • to lie on a charpoy, covered with fine cotton chadars on a full moon summer's night, trying to find the great dipper against the brightness of the moon's halo, wonder at skeins of swans (migratory birds) lazily flying across the sky, listening to the rustle of the ghaghra's cool breeze amongst the ashok trees,
  • waking up to the sound of the papeeha and koel,
  • bathing in water freshly brought up from the tube well,
  • sitting down to a breakfast of mangoes amongst other things, drinking milk in big brass tumblers (or refusing to drink),
  • spending the morning chasing sparrows beneath karonda bushes or pretending to help while actually having great fun with glue, mortars and pestles and herbs and other aromatics,
  • having lunch of arhar dal cooked on a wood fire, bhindi sabzi, rice, thin rotis, the tastiest pickles and green chutneys ever and mangoes alongwith atleast 12 other people, drinking cold, cold water freshly pumped (I have never drunk such sweet metallic water since),
  • having a long siesta in the afternoon while listening to gossip and funny stories, and being cautioned that going out in the back courtyard would mean being chased by monkeys, which was found to be true gradually by all of us pint sized heroes,
  • having a long, uncomplicated tea of pakodas and ginger or kangri or cardamom chai and very sometimes spicy chat,
  • going for walks on the banks of the ghaghra or scampering up mango trees and plucking and stuffing still hungry mouths with plump, juicy falsas and returning home triumphantly with sweet limes, falsas, figs and baskets of mangoes,
  • being scrubbed by mostly our mothers under the cold, cold fresh water again,
  • sitting down to a dinner of rotis, different kinds of veggies and curds and mountains of mangoes yet again and still not tiring of mangoes,
  • listening to stories of independence, to the point and factual or fanciful and alive with imagination and fervour depending on the story teller,
  • squabbling on the best spots to sleep with atleast 8 other people....

And, I get sad because I know my nephew or if I ever have children, will never, ever know this beauty and never know that way of life....



At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Varsha Commotion said...

Girl, tell me you did not seriously say "Waking up to the song of Koels and Papeehas".
Like seriously, I am all for maudlin nostalgia but this is a bit much even for me.


At 10:14 AM, Blogger Plumpernickel said...

You wouldn't know Varsha... It actually was ABSOLUTELY like that.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Varsha Commotion said...

Yeah well not to rain all over your pastoral pride parade, but you do realise that to enable each oblivious zameendar type childe enjoying such rural wonders, there are approximately thirty nine starving plebians.

Af for me, well its true I am through and through city born and bred and thank the gods for small mercies like that. Picking falsas off trees indeed - where, I mean, never mind.


At 1:36 PM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Or you've been listening to Gulzar and Madan Mohan - "Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din".


At 2:17 PM, Blogger Plumpernickel said...

ummm.... Beta, that's why I said that I feel sad because it is NOT possible now to do any of those things. Those days are over. As for your comment about 39 starving plebians, our falsas and mangoes did not pet me laat maro on anyone. It was not ill-gotten, unlike dilli's lutyen's bungalows.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Devalina said...

It is so true, every word of your blog. I felt you could be speaking for me. Uncanny, but it is so. By the way, to the one expressing doubts about Koels and Papeehas,I just had the most persistent kokil every morning, last summer in Regent Estate in Kolkata. It is an oasis of calm, right in the middle of the Jadavpur/ Bijoygarh bedlam.


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